The Patriots reportedly were blindsided Tuesday by a lawsuit accusing superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown of rape and sexual abuse.
Brown, 31, was slated to practice Wednesday with his new team for the first time when his former trainer, Britney Taylor, filed the lawsuit accusing Brown of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions in 2017 and ‘18.
A spokesman for the Patriots told the New York Times it was unaware of any of the allegations before they became public Tuesday night.
Brown’s legal team in a statement denied all allegations.
“He will pursue all legal remedies to not only clear his name but to also protect other professional athletes against false accusations,” said Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown.
The 28-year-old Taylor said in a statement, “As a rape victim of Antonio Brown, deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision.”
With the lawsuit, Brown’s immediate future with the Patriots remains unclear.
Roger Goodell could place the seven-time Pro Bowler on the commissioner’s exempt list, ESPN reported, which would keep Brown off the field as the league investigates the lawsuit.
The Patriots signed Brown to a one-year contract worth up to $15 million last weekend after the petulant wideout effectively forced his way out of Oakland following six months of never-ending drama.
Brown, who was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders in March, spent most of the offseason complaining about the NFL’s helmet policy, while reportedly lashing out at Oakland GM Mike Mayock at least once.